New treatments improve survival rates in metastatic prostate cancer

Credit: Unsplash+.

Recent research from Saint Louis University School of Medicine shows significant improvements in the survival rates of men with metastatic prostate cancer over the past 20 years.

This positive trend is linked to new hormonal treatments and chemotherapy.

Dr. Martin Schoen, an assistant professor of medicine at Saint Louis University and a member of the AHEAD Institute, led the study.

His findings were published in a research letter in JAMA Network Open.

The study focused on men newly diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer, a condition that accounts for 5-10% of all prostate cancer diagnoses but nearly 50% of related deaths.

Since 2015, new hormonal treatments and chemotherapy combined with androgen deprivation therapy have significantly improved the prognosis for these patients.

“In the last 10 years, several new therapies have been developed that have made a dramatic impact in clinical trials,” said Dr. Schoen. “We wanted to see if these breakthroughs were benefiting the general population.”

The study analyzed two national datasets to assess health outcomes: the SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) database, covering about 48% of the U.S. population, and the Veterans Affairs Central Cancer Registry (VACCR), which includes data from 132 VA Medical Centers. The study reviewed records of 58,859 men from SEER and 14,904 men from VACCR, all diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2000 and 2019.

The findings revealed that median overall survival significantly improved for men younger than 70. However, there was little change in survival rates for men over 70 during the same period. The study also found that survival rates were similar between the general population and veterans, indicating that the quality of prostate cancer care for veterans is on par with or better than the care provided to the general public.

Despite these positive trends, Dr. Schoen emphasized that improvements seen in clinical trials might not fully translate to clinical practice. Patients in real-world settings are often older and have more health conditions, leading to lower overall survival rates compared to trial participants.

The study highlights the need for further research, particularly to understand the impact of other medical conditions such as heart disease or diabetes on survival rates. While the study shows promising advancements in treatment, it also underscores the importance of continued efforts to improve care for all patients with metastatic prostate cancer.

This research offers hope and a clearer path forward for enhancing the treatment and survival of those affected by this challenging disease.

If you care about prostate cancer, please read studies about 5 types of bacteria linked to aggressive prostate cancer, and new strategy to treat advanced prostate cancer.

For more information about prostate cancer, please see recent studies about new way to lower risk of prostate cancer spread, and results showing three-drug combo boosts survival in metastatic prostate cancer.